Monday, November 20, 2006

Barley Casserole for the Cattle?!


My Sweetie brought home a really big bag of barley from the health food store. These cute nubbins were a lovely tan color and promised to be chewy and nutty. He was supposed to bring home rolled quick cooking barley, but this is what he found. What he didn’t realize is that one cup of barley cooks up into a big casserole of barley and the bag must have about 12 cups. We’ll be eating barley all winter and then some. We had ours with some pork chops, but this dish would go well with Thanksgiving turkey or most cold weather meat, game, fish or poultry dishes.

Browsing through some cookbooks turned up a baked barley casserole that sounds good. It’s from The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas from 1991. Its title is ‘Barley Casserole for the Cattle’. He admits that cattle don’t eat cooked barley, but since I don’t digest uncooked barley very well (actually never tried it) I guess that cooking is in order. He also has other dishes for the innkeeper, shepherds, and so on for the Nativity cast of characters. I changed the recipe a bit by adding mushrooms and thyme. That would make it too fancy for cattle, but quite nice for you and me.

Baked Barley Casserole with Mushrooms
inspired by a recipe in The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas, 1991

1 cup barley

1 cup sliced mushrooms
Butter

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups chicken or beef broth
2or 3 medium yellow onions, peeled & chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Melt the butter in a sauté pan and brown the barley. Place in a casserole. Sauté’ the yellow onions in butter and the oil for 2 minutes then add the mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent. Add this mixture to the casserole. Sprinkle with thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. (Note: Go easy on the salted unless you are using unsalted broth. The broth concentrates as the barley cooks, including the saltiness.)
3) Add 3 cups of the chicken or beef broth, cover, and place in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour, or until the moisture is almost absorbed. Add another 3 cups of broth, and cook, covered, until absorbed. (Yes, that is right: 1 cup of barley to 6 cups of broth.)

Serve warm.



2 comments :

thepassionatecook said...

Oh! this sounds lovely and is just what I needed! I also made a compulsive buy the other day without even knowing what to use it for... well, now i've got at least one recipe ;-)

Tanna said...

This looks like winter yummy...the mushroom and thyme seem perfect. I've forgotten I have the Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas.
Excellent.